Most people in Bible times go up early, before the sun was up, so that they could make the most of the hours of daylight and allows for the extreme heat at midday in the summer. Abraham got up early to obey God’s command to sacrifice (Genesis 22:3); Moses got up early in the morning to meet God on Mount Sinai (Exodus 34:4); Job offered worship early in the morning (Job 1:5); Jesus prayed before sunrise (Mark 1:35).
Spectator sports and entertainment were fully developed by the Romans so as to satisfy the common people’s lust for excitement and blood. Even the rush for seats was an excitement in itself; there were no reserved seats until the time of Augustus. In the arena, condemned criminals fought against wild animals-lions, bears, elephants, and hyenas- and the crowd would urge on the contest. Paul says that he fought against wild beasts at Ephesus (1 Corinthians 15:32), but he may have been referring to the experiences recorded in Acts 19 in a metaphorical way (see also Hebrews 10:33).
The Jewish diet was generally good for health. (For instance, Daniel and his friends looked far healthier on a vegetarian diet than did their companions who ate meat, Daniel 1:5-16.) The Jewish food laws gave a good degree of protection from food poisoning when cooking temperatures were low. The biggest health problem concerned the water, which
When Solomon began to build the Temple, he found it was not an easy thing to build on so steep a ridge. David has achieved construction at the southern end by erecting a series of walls and terraces, but Solomon needed to do much more than that. Solomon solved the problem by creating large terraces. These terraces were supported by arches beneath,
Ploughing and sowing were often one operation. The grain was scattered from an open basket and replenished from a sack tied on the back of a donkey. It took about thirty pounds of seed to the half acre, although the Babylonians had invented a primitive seed drill that was in use in some places and was more economical with the seed. The seed was then ploughed in so that it would not be taken by the birds (Matthew 13:4). This method of
When the Jewish people entered Canaan and took up agriculture after the seminomadic life of forty years in the wilderness, they were entering into work that went back in their own history for hundreds of years and into a country that was extremely rich in plants. Ur of the Chaldees, where Abraham had come from, was sustained by healthy agricultural system based on irrigation ditches from the river bank, stone ploughshares, and flint
Travel in Bible times was very difficult. It was never a pleasure. When people travelled it was either for government affairs, business, or necessity. Traveller on government business were protected (Acts 23:31), and the wealthy businessmen who could afford it sent others in a caravan on their behalf. They had to take calculated
The Roman Empire was a second period of great importance to the people of Bible lands. The birth of Jesus is clearly set in Roman times: “in those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)” (Luke 2:1-2). Rome had only Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS “THE ROMAN EMPIRE”→
We know little of the way that trading was done locally. There was normally an open place inside the city gate that served as a market square, and streets leading from the square would have served as dwellings for traders. There was a street of the bakers in Jeremiah’s time (Jeremiah 37:21), and the valley between the eastern and western ridges of Jerusalem was known as the valley of the cheesemakers. It is clear that there must have Continue reading MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF THE BIBLE “THE MARKETPLACE”→